Leslie Thomas’s first novel went straight to the top of the bestseller charts in 1966 and this movie version quickly tried to capitalise on its success.
Thomas wrote about his national service experiences in Singapore in the 1950s, where manhood was discovered through sex and military action during the Malayan Emergency.
In one sense the movie, written by John Hopkins, Ian La Frenais and John McGrath, is just Private’s Progress (1956) with a touch of Carry On Sergeant (1958), but the vivid action scenes and the probability of getting shot give it a blacker dramatic edge.
Hywel Bennett is the hero, Lynn Redgrave the RSM’s comely daughter and Tsai Chin plays an Oriental tart called Juicy Lucy.
If you look carefully, you might spot Wayne Sleep and David Bowie swelling the ranks.
Regimental Sergeant Major Raskin
Lt Col Bromley-Pickering